Interview with EFFoST2019 Conference host - Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano from Wageningen University

October 16, 2019

Making food healthier and production more sustainable is a major challenge for the food industry. That is why the 33rd EFFoST International conference focuses on Sustainable Food Systems - performing by connecting. As this year’s host, Wageningen University & Research is responsible for the program.

EFFoST2019 takes place from November 12-14 in the World Trade Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

“Protein transition, 3D printing, chewing behaviour, we offer companies an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge and inspiration," says Vincenzo Fogliano, professor at Wageningen University & Research and chairman of the organizing committee.

How did you come up with the Sustainable Food Systems theme?
“In the coming years, the food industry faces the challenge of making production more sustainable and offering healthier products that appeal to consumers, preferably tailored to different consumers groups. An innovative approach is needed to achieve this. It requires collaboration, creativity, entrepreneurship and knowledge from various disciplines, including from outside food technology. Think for example of IT, physiology, consumer behaviour, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Hence the title Sustainable Food Systems - performing by connecting. "
What do you think is the task of the food sector?
“It is our job to develop technological solutions together with all the links in the agri-food chain that have an impact in practice and thereby provide objective information to the consumer. As a sector, it is not our job to educate people to have a healthy diet, but it is our responsibility to enable a healthier choice. "
Which solutions will be discussed during the conference?
“We will show various examples of how raw materials can be used more efficiently. The protein transition is a nice example. If you want to make a good meat substitute, intensive processing is required. This applies to all alternative proteins, such as from soy, pea and insects. We have been researching this for years in Wageningen. In various projects, we work on plant-based "meat" that is accepted by large groups of consumers. Because we know from research that consumer acceptance is necessary to have a real impact. "
What lectures can we expect about food and health relationships?
“Optimizing product composition, taking into account the absorption of nutrients in the body, is a challenge for the industry. This topic will receive extensive attention. But also, the development of foods for target groups with different needs, such as athletes or the elderly. What their exact needs are, has been investigated for a number of years. The translation into truly personalized food products is still at its infancy but will certainly take off in the future. During the conference, a number of practical examples will be discussed, as well as more theoretical models with which the industry can design these types of products. Of course, there is also ample attention for new technologies that can create a breakthrough, such as 3D printing. ”
What innovations in security and authenticity are presented at the EFFoST conference?
"As the demand for healthy, less processed products continues to rise, science continues to look for mild methods that guarantee safety and shelf life, as an alternative to traditional heat-based pasteurization and sterilization treatments. During the conference, new developments will be presented about decontamination with cold plasma and treatments with Pulsed Electric Fields (PEF), high pressure and ultrasound. ”
Which less obvious topics are covered?
“I am thinking, for example, of the lecture from the Smooth bite for all project, about the influence of the food structure on the chewing and swallowing behaviour of consumers. But there is also a session about communication about food, for example. Consumers can no longer see the wood for the trees, and traditional information channels sometimes cannot compete with the information on social media. The role of social networks and group behaviour appears to be very relevant to the engagement of consumers in their food. "
Finally: Is this EFFoST conference also interesting for companies?
"Yes! Very much so! This is an excellent opportunity for companies to gain new scientific insights, because where else do you get so much information in three days?

Prof. Vincenzio Fogliano is a food scientist. For 20 years he worked at the University of Naples as a professor in Biochemistry, Food Chemistry and Functional Foods. Since 2013, he is the chair of the Food Quality & Design group at Wageningen University. He has published more than 350 publications in indexed journals covering many aspects of Food Science. These papers received more than 11.000 citations and I have an h-index of 63.

Find out more about the EFFoST2019 conference programme and speakers! Don't forget to register!

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